About Us

We are a not-for-profit community Nursery. Our purpose is to protect and restore the ecological values of south-east Queensland habitats by returning locally indigenous plants to the landscape.

We aim to achieve this through:

  • Growing, selling and promoting the use of indigenous plant species for every situation, from large-scale revegetation projects to home gardens
  • Encouraging community awareness and appreciation of the importance of native plants in the environment
  • Promoting the use of locally native plants in place of exotic species
  • Providing volunteering and educational opportunities for individuals to develop skills in identifying, selecting and growing native plants

We believe that habitat restoration is possible and necessary at all levels.  From rural to residential, the change and difference can be made literally in our own back yards.

Paten Park Native Nursery

Paten Park Native Nursery is a not-for-profit community driven native plants nursery in The Gap, Brisbane. Driven by the love of native plants, we've been helping both local individuals and groups to give some love to our often neglected native species.
Paten Park Native Nursery
Paten Park Native Nursery1 day ago
The luscious red flesh covering the seeds of this rainforest plant looks good enough to eat.
And you can eat the raspberry-red aril (flesh around the seed) of the Hairy Bird’s Eye (Alectryon tomentosus) but don’t bite into it – the hard, black seed inside is toxic.
The aril is brightly coloured to attract birds, which aid in seed dispersal by eating it and distributing the seeds via their droppings.
Also known as the Red Jacket or Woolly Rambutan, Alectryon tomentosus is an important winter food source for fruit-eating birds including Green Catbirds, and will also bring butterflies including Pencilled Blues to your garden.
Hardy once established, it’s an attractive tree with serrated, velvety leaves and creamy-pink flowers in Autumn-Winter.
Its hairy seed capsules split open to reveal the flesh-covered seeds. (The species “tomentosus” is derived from the Latin “tomentose” for densely covered with short hairs).
It’s a frost-tolerant dry rainforest pioneer and creek species that grows up to 15m tall (but less in cultivation) in a range of rainforest types from far north Queensland to the Hunter Valley in NSW.
It belongs to the family Sapindaceae which includes lychees, rambutans, horse chestnuts and maples.
Paten Park Native Nursery
Paten Park Native Nursery4 days ago
This National Volunteer Week (May 20-26), meet a talented but modest PPNN volunteer who is a living example of what a difference one volunteer can make.
“You can call me the bag lady,” says Mary Frey as she pulls a trolley laden with brown paper bags full of seeds, twigs and leaves to the table at Paten Park Native Nursery.
But don’t be fooled by appearances.
A sprightly 78 years old, Mary is one of PPNN’s longest-serving volunteers and a principal seed collector who brings her bounty from her property outside Nambour and other exploratory forays down to PPNN each month.
And she’s so much more – a tree planter, native plant propagator, vegie gardener, environmental campaigner, creek rehabilitator, commercial artist, former air hostess, mother of two, grandmother of four and friend to many.
Like an evergreen rainforest tree whose flowers support ecosystems, often unseen high in the canopy, she keeps bearing fruit year after year.
Chances are you’ve come across trees she’s planted – from Central Queensland to the Southeast - or tubestock propagated from seeds she’s collected.
She painted the beautiful rainforest sign at PPNN’s front entry and others but, with an artist’s eye for colour, laments that it’s a bit faded now.
Mary grew up in Ashgrove but first became interested in native plants after she and her former husband Thomas found a miner’s lease for sale outside Rockhampton in 1974.
“We’d gone through Rocky at night and thought it was a wonderful place.
“We thought it was marvellous because they’d had big floods at the time and everything was really lush.”
She’d lived an adventurous life as an Ansett air hostess, meeting her Swiss husband-to-be, Thomas, a multilingual tour guide, on a plane after he’d migrated to Australia. He spoke five languages and got work as a rigger in New Caledonia (even though he didn’t know what a rigger was).
After marrying, they took off to see the world together, finally landing back in New Caledonia with $2 between them and stayed for three years. Thomas worked as a tour guide and Mary as an artist for the local newspaper until she became pregnant and they returned to Australia to raise a family.
Back in Australia, when the children were toddlers Thomas completed a biochemistry degree while working as a university lab attendant.
Life on the property at Moonmera, 34km from Rockhampton, was quite isolated so the library in town became Mary’s favourite spot with the children.
“I started reading about native plants and learning. I just thought I’d like to reafforest the place … it was cattle country which they didn’t look after.”
Reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, a 1960s bestseller about the environmental impact of pesticides, motivated her to act.
“I read that and I was shocked and wanted to do something for the world.”
She bought seeds from Bunya State Forest’s native nursery and started growing eucalypts, callistemons and other native plants from seed on her “very dry” 20-acre property.
She returned to Brisbane while her sons were going to university there after she and Thomas parted ways.
“We separated down the track but we’re still good friends,” Mary says.
She learnt more about rainforest plants, joining environmental groups including the Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network (BRAIN) and Men of The Trees Queensland (MOTT), planting trees in Brisbane and Dayboro and doing creek rehabilitation around Samford. She also went seed collecting regularly with Kumbartcho native nursery staff, Gaven and Irene and other volunteers.
Living on a property at Dayboro, she started volunteering at Paten Park in 2000 when it was a Greening Australia nursery, and was part of the committee that campaigned, along with Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) and other community members, to establish Paten Park Native Nursery in 2014 after Greening Australia left.
Her passion for seed collecting was sparked by a woman called Donna at Greening Australia who would take volunteers on field trips around Greater Brisbane, Mt Glorious and even Fraser Island/K’Gari, where they met conservationist and Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO) founder John Sinclair.
Now Mary lives on 1½ acres outside Nambour, “bulging with trees” she has planted – but there is room for fruit and vegies, which she grows to feed herself and her grandchildren.
“It was ¾ acre at Dayboro and the reason I moved from there was because I was getting old, of course. It was steep, so I went and got a new place up near Nambour that’s flatter and bigger.
“I grow native trees of course,” she says. “I’ve been planting trees since I went up to our property in Central Queensland when I was 30 and that’s 48 years ago now.”
What a difference one volunteer can make!
Volunteering Australia Kumbartcho Sanctuary & Nursery
Paten Park Native Nursery
Paten Park Native Nursery5 days ago
We have a new workshop added to our calendar ...

BCC Free Native Plant Program

Brisbane City Council’s Free Native Plants Program offers a range of plants to assist the community to plant and green their properties. The native species provided through the program will help grow our city’s urban forest and support local wildlife.

We are only able to accept approved stamped Free Native Plants vouchers.

Find out how to claim your FREE BCC native plant vouchers here!

We Do Gift Vouchers

Available now, Paten Park Native Nursery gift vouchers are the ideal gift for anyone with a green thumb. Contact us to learn more.

Nespresso Capsule Recycling Program

Drop off your used Nespresso pods for recycling next time you stop by!